The new $600 million Great Keppel Island eco-resort will be some of the best news Queensland's tourism industry has had in a decade if the project is approved, Tourism Queensland has said.
CEO Anthony Hayes was commenting on the release of the environmental impact statement for the proposed Great Keppel Island re-development on the Capricorn Coast, which, if approved, will see a low-rise eco-tourism resort constructed over a 12 year period.
"Since the closure of the old, once-iconic Great Keppel Island resort, the Capricorn region has been waiting for a major new resort project," Mr Hayes said.
"If it goes through, the new Great Keppel Island resort will bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars into the region and will be a huge show of confidence in the future of Queensland's tourism industry.
"The process Tower Holdings has undertaken also shows the company's commitment to the project and to the tourism potential that an eco-resort of this standard will bring to Queensland."
Mr Hayes said despite a challenging couple of years for Queensland's $18 billion tourism industry, confidence in the industry's future was high, a fact testified to by a range of tourism developments and refurbishments and new airline routes and capacity.
"Over the past two years, for example billions of dollars have been invested on the Gold Coast, including the new Hilton Surfers Paradise, Sea Temple Surfers Paradise, Peppers Broadbeach and QT Resort, and multi-million dollar upgrades to the Marriott, Sheraton Mirage and Paradise Resorts," Mr Hayes said.
"In the Whitsundays Hayman Island reopened last August following a multi-million dollar refurbishment and Lindeman Island was purchased earlier this year by a Chinese media group and is currently undergoing a major upgrade.
"In the Tropical North Orpheus Island re-opened last October following a multi-million dollar upgrade and Dunk and Bedarra Islands are currently being rebuilt following Cyclone Yasi.
"In the Cairns and Port Douglas region, millions of dollars have injected into a range of tourism products, including a $5 million upgrade of Silky Oaks Lodge; $6 million to transform the former Rydges Port Douglas into QT Resorts' second Queensland property; $10 million on upgrades to the Cairns Hilton and Holiday Inn and $20 million for Ports North's redevelopment of the Cairns Cruise Ship Terminal.
"An additional $25 million is about to be spent by the Shangri-lato upgrade the hotel and Cairns Pier precinct, while Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park has slated $10 million for capital investment.
"The CaPTA Group is about to redevelop a new adventure product at the Rainforest Dome at the Pullman Reef Hotel and Casino and the $20 million Mossman Gorge Gateway Centre is due to open this week."
Mr Hayes said further south Castaways at Mission Beach had not long finished a $3 million refurbishment following Cyclone Yasi and Townsville Sealink had just spent $2 million on upgrading their Magnetic Island ferry service vessels and were looking at diversifying further into tourism.
Increased air capacity from a range of airlines including the recent announcement by China Eastern Airlines that it would begin flying direct from Shanghai to Cairns three times weekly from the end of the year and the introduction of Singapore Airlines' low-cost off-shoot Scoot flying into the Gold Coast also demonstrated investors' confidence in Queensland's tourism industry, he said.
"The Queensland Government has named tourism as one of the four pillars of the state's economy and the Great Keppel Island development, should it gain final approval, will be another plank in our fantastic tourism product and experiences and will createhundreds of new jobs," Mr Hayes said.
"When you look at all of the activity and investment happening across Queensland it's easy to see that our tourism industry has a great sense of optimism and confidence for the future."
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